aving gained approval from Italian regulator AAMS and successfully completed a thorough beta testing period, the new Italian poker network is now fully live, offering Italian players access to Microgaming’s poker tournament games, the only form of the game currently allowed in Italy.
Microgaming said it has worked in close collaboration with local parties to ensure that its back-office systems and support services have been appropriately customised to cater for the Italian market, as well as being fully compliant with all Italian regulatory standards.
“The launch of Microgaming’s Italian Poker Network is another example of Microgaming bringing the highest global standards to local markets,” said Roger Raatgever, CEO of Microgaming. “We have worked tirelessly to ensure that the new poker network is fit for purpose to meet the needs of the Italian player-base, as well as the Italian regulatory standards.”
Raatgever said that the initial offering of poker tournament games to the network’s player community represented a solid foundation upon which to build, with Microgaming currently working within regulatory parameters to develop the poker games portfolio further.
“With the Italian market set to become increasingly open and competitive in the months to come, we are confident that we have the right resources and alliances to support our operators and help them to succeed,” continued Raatgever. “Italy is an important region for the future of gaming in Europe, as it has set the standard for other countries wishing to introduce gaming regulations; it is a crucial gateway for further EU expansion. We remain committed to the Italian market and are keen to play our part in helping our licensees take full advantage of the opportunities that lie therein, and beyond.”
Ladbrokes has become the first operator to join the new poker network, with Microgaming currently negotiating with a number of other operators who are keen to enter or solidify their position in the rapidly growing Italian market.
“Microgaming has a proven track record in poker as it hosts the most established poker network,” said Mattia Nicelli, CEO of Ladbrokes Italia. “Our decision to join its Italian Network is a strategic move that we believe will be of great benefit to our players.
“Drawing on its wealth of global and local expertise, together with its technological prowess, Microgaming has adapted its services in a way that caters to our specific needs, as we compete in the competitive Italian market. We are confident that this partnership will prove mutually beneficial and that Microgaming’s new venture targeting the Italian market will emulate the success it has experienced around the world,” said Nicelli.
Buy-ins for online poker tournaments in Italy generated 260.7 million euros during February 2010, almost double the 143 million euros registered in the same month in 2009, with the market currently dominated by Italy’s Microgame, PokerStars and bwin/Gioco Digitale, with an increasing presence from Lottomatica and Party Poker.